Getting a handle on your finances can seem daunting or even impossible, depending on your income level or amount of debt you carry. The best way to take control of your money is to get educated. While there are plenty of financial courses you can take, there are more cost-effective options like books and websites that can give you the information you need in an easy-to-digest format. To start, check out these essential personal finance books.
Personal Finance for Dummies
If you’re new to the world of personal finance, then Personal Finance for Dummies by Eric Tyson is a good place to start. This handy guide walks readers through the basics of money management and goal setting by examining how money affects practically every aspect of our lives. Covering the main personal finance areas of taxes, saving, budgeting, and planning for goals, Tyson discusses these foundational topics in an easy-to-understand way that helps inexperienced people get started on the road to financial stability.
Personal Finance for Dummies is a good foundation for beginners and is a great book to start with before moving on to more specific resources. If you are interested in a broad overview of personal finance, this is the book for you.
Your Money or Your Life
If you have struggled to heal your relationship with money, Your Money or Your Life may be the book to help you turn it all around. This book lays out nine essential strategies that help readers put their financial issues in perspective. Authors Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez continually emphasize that, while money is certainly important, your quality of life is much more significant to your happiness.
More than just a budgeting book, Your Money or Your Life seeks to educate readers about money management fundamentals. It emphasizes reducing expenses and getting comfortable with living within your means. Robin and Dominguez not only lay the groundwork to change how you see money; they also provide plenty of real-world stories from people who successfully implemented their nine-step program to improve their finances and their lives.
The Index Card: Why Personal Finance Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Offering a detailed explanation of sometimes complex financial topics, The Index Card by Harold Pollack and Helaine Olen is a go-to resource for people who want to dive deeper into personal finance, but want simple explanations for more complicated topics. The Index Card goes over 10 essential personal finance rules, then gives simple, actionable steps to incorporate them into your life.
The Index Card is a good book for people who have a fear-based money approach and are looking to change their mindset with practical advice. An antithesis to the advice given out by popular money gurus, The Index Card focuses on author Harold Pollack’s viral index card approach, in which he wrote the 10 essential finance rules on 4×6 index cards to demonstrate the simplicity of money management. Collaborating with Olen, Pollack puts the power in the reader’s hands.
The Automatic Millionaire
Touted as a one-step plan for building wealth, The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich by David Bach is both a success story and a blueprint for creating more abundance in your life. The Automatic Millionaire differs from many mainstream personal finance books because it does not advocate extreme frugality or working tirelessly to earn more money.
The overarching theme of The Automatic Millionaire is that you can live a comfortable life even if you don’t earn a lot. Bach makes it clear that anyone can have more abundance and freedom in their life without having to wait until they earn a certain salary. He gives practical tips and advocates for paying yourself first, regardless of your financial circumstances.
Tips for Choosing Personal Finance Books
Picking out personal finance books can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. If you have always had trouble managing your finances, it’s best to look for titles that are marketed to beginners. Starting at your current level of understanding will ensure the content is relevant to your situation and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed, which can happen with books that go into greater detail.
If you are generally happy with your financial status but feel your finances could use some tweaking, look for titles that are specific to your situation. For example, if you have minimal debt and a good emergency fund built up, it might be a good idea to choose a book on investing or planning for retirement. If you are interested in understanding how credit works, look for titles about responsible credit card use.
A quick internet search using the keywords that are most specific to your financial situation will yield many results. Always read reviews of popular finance books and choose titles based on your needs, not because of its popularity. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way towards finding the best personal finance book for your needs.